There isn't going to be much of a gap between Tina Fey's raunchy new comedy Sisters and her next starring vehicle. The creative force behind 30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is producing and starring in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, a comedic adaptation of journalist Kim Barker's 2011 memoir The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan. (WTF — get it?) Paramount released the movie's first trailer this morning. Glenn Ficarra and John Requa are sharing directorial duties, and Fey's frequent collaborator Robert Carlock wrote the screenplay. Fey plays Barker, a correspondent who leaves her New York newsroom to report from dusty Afghan battlefields. She's surrounded by a deep cast, one that includes Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman, Alfred Molina, and Billy Bob Thornton.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot's trailer is funny, and it's exciting to see Fey removed from her usual urban, upper-middle-class comedic stomping grounds. But the movie is being released in the wake of criticism of Fey's treatment of race in her comedy, criticism that extends back to her work as a writer and performer on SNL. Some of the casting decisions and themes present in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot could revive and intensify that criticism. Christopher Abbott and Alfred Molina are both Caucasian actors playing Afghan characters, a potential flashpoint in a moment where casting diversity has become a major topic; one of the later beats in the trailer involves Fey and Thornton talking about killing in the context of career benefits. You can't judge a movie on its trailer and cast list alone, but it's worth monitoring the larger critical discussion around this particular release as it develops.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot lands in theaters on March 4th, 2016.